Abortion during Coronavirus

A Temporary Victory for Preborn Babies

Apparently Vice News—a virulently pro-abortion news website—thinks that pro-lifers are “winning” the coronavirus pandemic. At least, that’s what the headline of one of its recent articles proclaims. Putting aside the absurd wording of the headline—nobody can possibly win a pandemic that is killing thousands of people—the article does include some encouraging news for pro-life Americans.

“Over the past few weeks,” it begins, “as vast swathes of U.S. society have shut down in an effort to curb the coronavirus, the pandemic has achieved what years of Supreme Court battles and hundreds of restrictions could not: It has choked off access to legal abortion.”

Translating this hopelessly biased paragraph into everyday language, what Vice News is pointing out is that, in response to coronavirus, several states have temporarily prohibited abortion clinics from killing preborn babies so that those states can direct their resources and medical equipment toward saving lives.

Across the country we have, without controversy, accepted the decision to suspend all “elective” medical procedures in hospitals and clinics. Many of these elective procedures are not trivial matters. However, we’ve chosen to ask many of our citizens to accept significant disruptions to their lives so that we can prevent the spread of the virus and funnel scarce resources and equipment to lifesaving care.

Recently, a group of pro-life leaders wrote a letter (a letter HLI supports) to Alex Azar, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, in which they pointed out the absurdity and selfishness of Planned Parenthood continuing to perform abortions while the rest of the country is focused on saving lives. “While surgery centers postpone elective and diagnostic procedures,” the pro-life leaders wrote, “abortion centers are churning out surgical and chemical abortions and putting women, especially the poor, at risk. Their continued operation depletes sorely needed personal protective equipment and leads to complications that will further overwhelm already overextended emergency rooms.”

unborn baby in womb

It is unclear exactly how many states have placed temporary bans on abortions, but Catholic News Agency reports that the states include Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Ohio, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Tennessee. Unfortunately, not all of these bans are in effect, due to legal challenges and the interventions of activist judges. Nevertheless, at various points throughout the pandemic, abortion clinics have been all but shut down in various states, including the second most populous state in the union—Texas. (Unfortunately, as of Friday, it appears that abortions are once again being permitted in the state).

WHO: Abortion Is “Essential”

The pro-abortion movement has responded with hysteria, claiming—as one CNN article absurdly put it—that abortion is a “human right” and that restricting abortion “constitutes cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.” Tragically, the World Health Organization, which we are supposed to revere as the medical authority that will guide us through this pandemic, has come out with a statement saying that abortion is an “essential” service. And Michigan’s notoriously liberal governor, Gretchen Whitmer, criticized the temporary abortion bans by making the paradoxical claim that abortion is “life-sustaining”!

However, the fervor of the pro-abortion protestations is encouraging, since it is a response to a very real fact: many abortion clinics across the country have temporarily ceased killing babies.

“Probably every independent clinic in the country is at risk,” Nikki Madsen, executive director of the Abortion Care Network, told Vice News. “This is the thing that scares me the most, of anything that I’ve seen in the last 18 years, of potentially really decimating abortion access in this country.”

As Madsen and Vice News point out, the impact of the current crisis is having a dramatic effect on abortion. “The coronavirus pandemic . . . is affecting people’s access to abortion in every state, including in Democrat-controlled states. And it’s happening all at once.”

However, in some ways, Vice News’ story downplays the impact of the virus on the child-killing industry. It’s not just in certain US states that abortions are being seriously curtailed. It’s happening throughout the world. According to International Planned Parenthood, almost 6000 of its affiliated clinics—or 14% of the total—have closed down because of the outbreak. Not all of those committed abortions, but many of them do. These clinics are located all across Africa, Asia, Europe, and Oceania.

The pro-life movement knows from experience that even if women are required to spend a few days thinking about whether to have an abortion, they often change their minds. Women often book their abortion appointments in a moment of panic right after they find out they are pregnant with an unplanned baby. This panic may be exacerbated by the negative or even threatening reactions of unsupportive partners. Given a few days to think about it, however, many women realize the truth that (whatever the “pro-choice” propaganda tells them) they are carrying a living baby and that they are strong enough to bring that baby into the world and to love him or her.

Even if these restrictions on abortions are lifted soon, it is highly likely that a huge number of babies will have been saved as a consequence. Meanwhile, some dedicated pro-lifers are continuing their prayer vigils outside abortion clinics even during this pandemic, with one woman outside one facility reporting that six women turned around in one day.

Putting Women at Risk

Naturally, the pro-abortion movement is scrambling to try to find ways to overcome the restrictions, even if that means putting women at risk. Numerous pro-abortion organizations and politicians have, over the past few weeks, advocated lifting restrictions on “medical abortions” and have even promoted illegal and highly dangerous practices to women, like ordering abortion drugs on the internet and having them take them without a doctor’s supervision.

This is unconscionably reckless and selfish. Statistically speaking, a certain percentage of women who abort at home will end up in the hospital or will turn to surgical abortion to complete a botched medical one. The abortion movement is promoting dangerous, potentially illegal, and certainly nonessential practices that will inevitably add a burden to our medical system. As the group of pro-life leaders points out in their letter: “At a time when hospitals are overloaded, the abortion industry is putting women at risk of incomplete abortion, hemorrhage, and infection.” In other words, “the abortion industry is compounding one crisis with another.”

So much for being “pro-woman.”

As I pointed out recently, one possible negative outcome for the pro-life cause is that pro-abortion activists will succeed in their calls to expand medical abortions. That, at least, is what Planned Parenthood hopes will happen. In a recent article on its site about the impact of coronavirus on “reproductive health services,” International Planned Parenthood claims that the “ability to take medicines [i.e., abortion-causing drugs] in their own homes” should “become standard” for women.

The pro-life movement must be on guard against this insanely dangerous proposal, and wherever possible, ensure that drugs that cause the death of a preborn baby are banned—and the bans enforced.

Still, one of the unexpected blessings of the coronavirus pandemic is that it is exposing the self-evident truth that so many pro-lifers have urged for decades: namely, that there is no world in which the killing of an innocent human being is an “essential” medical service. Abortion cures no diseases. All it does is interrupt the perfectly healthy functioning of a woman’s body and destroy the living body of the baby she is nurturing.

If “winning” the coronavirus pandemic means that some good comes out of this great evil, and some innocent human beings have a chance at life when they wouldn’t have otherwise, then I do hope that Vice News’ headline is right and that the pro-life movement is winning this one.

About Fr. Shenan J. Boquet

Fr. Shenan J. Boquet has served as president of Human Life International since 2011. He was ordained in 1993 as a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana. As HLI’s president, Fr. Boquet collaborates with fellow laborers in the pro-life and family movement in over 80 countries, offering the Sacraments, giving seminars and trainings, appearing on numerous media outlets, and encouraging people of all walks of life to live as faithful advocates for a Culture of Life and Love. He is available for interviews and bookings on behalf of HLI by emailing hli@hli.org.

1 Comment

  1. y on May 25, 2020 at 7:04 PM

    With all this going on in the world, we should wonder why God sent the Covid-19 to warn us that we are not following the Teachings that Jesus gave us and asked His followers to do and to teach to others. May the world wake up to turn back to God.
    Recently an Eastern Rite Deacon of mine told me to read Romans 1:18-32. This reading is not in the lectionary for the Roman or Eastern Rite. God’s wrath will only be contained for so long. We have Catholic priests approving of Homosexuality as well as transgender. Will they realize that they and those who follow them will have to meet God at the end of their lives and receive the consequences? We all must pray that the world will turn to God.before it is too late. God have mercy on us poor sinners.

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